Change takes change
There is a sentiment that I have heard many times from women who are already married or in a relationship when they get their eating under control. Their spouses say things like “I just wanted you to lose weight. I didn’t want you to change.”
When I first got my eating under control I had a kind of revelation. That if I was going to change the way I ate, I was going to have to change the way I ate. But also it meant I had to change other things about how I went through my day. Because eating was a major part of my day-to-day life.
Before that, I had wanted to change my body. And I was only vaguely aware of the fact that it had something to do with my eating. (Sugar is a hell of a drug.) But I didn’t want to change anything significant. It didn’t occur to me that success in arresting my compulsive eating meant I had to change anything except to do the few very specific things it took to “keep to a diet.” And I somehow expected it to work.
Except that I didn’t. I always knew, and always FELT deep in me, that whatever diet I was on would not work. Wouldn’t work for me, at any rate.
And I was right. Because there was no endgame. I was eating to get thin enough that I could eat the way I wanted to without judgement. But I did not want to stop eating. I simply wanted to avoid the consequences of it.
I certainly could not have put that into words until I got my eating under control, but ultimately that was what it was. Because what I did NOT want to do was give up sugar.
What I really learned early on in recovery was that in order to make a real and lasting change in my eating and my body, I had to make other lasting changes. And in many ways, the things I had to do to get my eating under control made that part easy. It meant I had to go to the grocery store. I had to schedule that into my week. I had to cook meals within my boundaries. I had to figure out how to do that and still get to work on time. And I had to figure out how to get to meetings and talk to other people recovering from their own food addiction. I had to make time and put in effort. All of those things changed the shape of my days. And changing my schedule was the perfect way to change my actions and my results.
To change my life and get something different from what I have had, I have always had to change my life in practice. To take new and different actions and approaches. To behave differently. And it has always been worth it.